An update from the South Atlantic: message from Spirit of Canada

Here's another dispatch from Derek Hatfield. He writes:

"Great sailing for the last 24 hours, a personal best in mileage at around 368 miles. Knock on wood (carbon), the weather forecast is still showing the possibility of cutting the corner on the St. Helena High and making some miles on the leaders. I'm watching this very closely as I don't want to get caught in the high pressure system that is coming, it will be brutally windless in this area for a few days on the weekend.

The temperature is still very warm and daytime it's shorts and t-shirt and night time a fleece. I can feel the coolness in the air as I head south and it won't be long until the full layers of long underwear and fleece are required. Of course, on deck, it's foul weather gear all the time due to the spray and waves breaking over the boat.

Top speed last night was 22 knots with sustained surfs on 18 knots for long periods of time, it was fantastic sailing. Today I've had to back off a gear from the genoa to the solent as the wind is getting up to high 20's. The boat is on the very edge of control and I felt it better to save the genoa to fight another day, given that it's the only one I have on board.

Word from back in Canada is that the government is in a bit of turmoil and the economy is at scary levels. I'm sure more than one of our sponsors are feeling the pinch of the recession. Hang in there and never give up on your goals. I feel a little guilty that I'm out here away from all of these woes but maybe some of you following the race can at least find it a motivating diversion from the financial situation.

Take care, Derek."

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